Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Word of Caution

To start with, I tend to view Texas A&M University as a bit of a microcosm of the country in general. Maybe it's because I see their tendency to be conservative coupled with their strive to be progressive, which looks rather like middle-America. Maybe it's because I really loved going to school there, and that's where I developed a lot of my world view. I don't know, but there it is. I tell you this to preface my little history lesson. Texas A&M was founded in 1876 as an all-male military school. In 1963, the first black and female students were accepted and began attending the university (1 and 2). Blacks were admitted at equal status (always with the "legally" on this one, unfortunately) with whites in 1964 (1). Women achieved equal admittance status with men in 1971 (2). In 1976, Fred McClure was elected the first black student body president at A&M (1). Brooke Rollins was elected the first female student body president in 1994 (3).

I share this not to say that women have it worse than blacks, but to throw out a word of caution to all Democrats out there. I do not believe that this country is ready for a female president. Much the same that A&M embraced blacks in the student body more readily than women, the US can handle a black man in the presidency right now more readily than a woman. And here's a bold prediction that I'll make a year ahead of time: if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, we will have another Republican in office for the next four years.

It's an issue that has plagued powerful women for centuries: How do you make it look like you're as capable as a man in "manly things" without diminishing what it is that makes you female? Can a woman be powerful and feminine at the same time? Look at Hillary -- everything about her is criticized in the press. If she dresses like a businesswoman, she looks "boxy"; if she wears something flattering, she's being a tease (4). If she's too serious, then she's cold and calculating, but if she tries to lighten things up, her laugh is ridiculed. She just can't win....and that's kinda my point.

Right now we can't even stomach the thought of a woman as our boss (5). If a female boss is met with resistance, can we really take a female political boss? There has been a lot of talk about whether a woman belongs in the military (6). Can a female Commander-in-Chief be respected? I don't think she can. And she will mobilize an opposition faster than you can say "Hillary".

Months ago, I opined (that's my new favorite word, "opined". Do you like it, too?) that the Republican party was smearing Barrack Obama because they wanted to see Hillary win the Democratic nomination. And it's working so far (7). And, I'd venture to say that a significant amount of her money is coming from the Republican party -- people that want to ensure that she has enough money to beat Obama and Edwards (either of which I believe could beat any Republican nominee that they put forward).

So, I reiterate what I've said before. Stop supporting Hillary. She can't win, and I don't want to see another Republican in the White House for a while. I'd love to see her drop out of the race for the good of the party, but that seems to be too much to ask. Let's switch our focus, though, to Obama vs. Edwards. And the decision isn't which one to pick for president, but whether we have an Obama/Edwards ticket or an Edwards/Obama ticket. I currently believe Edwards/Obama would be more winnable, and currently, that's all I want. A winnable ticket to be put forward by the Democratic party in 2008. Please vote in your Democratic primaries as they come up. And please don't vote for Mrs. Clinton.

Please? Pretty please? Is that really so much to ask?

References
1. Resource from the Cushing Library on the history of African Americans at Texas A&M University.

2. The history of Texas A&M, as recorded in the Texas State Handbook.

3. News release from A&M regarding a speaking engagement by Ms. Rollins.

4. An LA Times article about Hillary's clothing choices.

5. An Economist article about the perceptions of being disciplined by a male or female boss.

6. A history of women in our military.

7. ABC News coverage of polling in Iowa placing Hillary well in the lead.

5 comments:

Stephanie said...

Amen. Can you please get this out there where more people will read it??? You know I would not call myself a "republican." Even if the US were ready for a female leader, I do not believe globally we are ready for a female leader. I have no confidence in Obama. That's just my gut. I have great anxiety when I think of another 4 years with a republican in the White House. We are really going to have an uphill battle for the next few years. (FYI, in case you didn't know, I look forward to your blog every day!)

Heather said...

Wow, that is a lot of pressure. Really? I'm touched.

mr. kyle said...

While I agree with your sentiment, not wanting another republican, I'd disagree with your cause. I think the woman as candidate issue is less important that the fact that the woman is Hillary. Women from Thatcher to Merkel have demonstrated the power of women to not only lead but revolutionize powerful nations.

Where I agree with you is that Hillary motivates the republican base far more than her opponents. However, I think she's also the most capable and centrist of the democratic candidates. A ticket with Edwards at the top is hopeless. In order to gain traction in his own party's primaries he's staked out a position that's far too left of those A&M like masses you referred to. Obama needs to demonstrate he's not the lightweight he recently appears to be (we certainly don't need another of those). Perhaps he can turn the tide, but I think he's running for VP.

The question is whether the anti Hillary motivation will be enough to get people to turn out to vote for a republican candidate that the republican's themselves are not in love with. Their party is a mess, and while Guiliani might have a chance against Hillary, especially in traditionally Democratic states, he seems at the moment too liberal for his own party. Should they throw a retread of a dying party philosophy (anyone but Guiliani and possibly Mitt depending on what he decides to support by election time) into the wake an eight year disaster then "I hate Hillary" will prove an insufficient rallying cry.

Heather said...

I stand by the statement that this country is not ready for a female leader. Neither Thatcher nor Merkel led the US, and while they are both strong women leaders, Hillary is not a Margaret nor an Angela. There may be women that are capable of getting this country to rally around them, but she is not one of them. And as long as it's just old retired folks that vote, gender will come into play. Regardless of whether her proposals make the most sense.

I'm not convinced Edwards is a lost cause, but it is possible that Obama is running for VP. That'd be fine too. I just feel that Hillary is the wrong candidate for the Dems to put up if they want to reclaim the presidency.

cat said...

haha right now it seems like there's not much to please people..no one i know wants hilary...but on the other hand no one wants a republican, i wonder if that give people more of a reason not to vote?